Castleburg Brewery tapping out after nearly 8 years in business

castleburg karlHomburg Cropped

Castleburg owner Karl Homburg (BizSense file photos)

Another Richmond brewery is closing its doors. 

Castleburg Brewery and Taproom is preparing to cease operations next month at 1626 Ownby Lane after nearly eight years in business. 

Owner Karl Homburg said rising costs, namely rent, led him to the decision to close. He said he was set to renew Castleburg’s lease at the end of the year when he got a notice that his rent would be going up 80 percent. 

“The costs have gone up considerably on things like freight and the cost of goods,” Homburg said. “The big one that broke my back has been rent.”

Castlesburg is one of the region’s smaller breweries, operating in about 4,200 square feet in a strip center down the road from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s original location. 

Castleburg built its brand on flagship beers like its Bishop’s Brown Ale and eponymous Cream Ale, and though it leaned primarily on taproom sales, it also had a limited distribution network throughout the Richmond and Eastern Virginia regions. 

The brewery’s building is owned by an entity tied to downtown firm Crenshaw-Singleton Properties, which couldn’t be reached for comment. Other tenants in the strip center include a Sherwin-Williams paint shop, gym Colonial Fit RVA, print shop Sir Speedy and Soul Aerial and Performing Arts Center.

castleburg taproom Cropped

Castleburg opened in 2016.

Homburg added that it’s about 30 percent more expensive to brew beer now than it was when Castleburg opened in 2016. All the compiling factors made him feel like now’s the right time to tap out. 

“Inflation has really hit, and it’s getting harder. SBA loans and COVID relief loans are starting to come due. All that stuff is just tightening everybody’s budget,” he said. 

Homburg said he is looking into selling the business, but in the meantime he said the plan is to sell all the beer that’s already been brewed. 

Prior to launching Castleburg, Homburg was an award-winning homebrewer, something he pursued on the side while he earned his living in the IT industry. 

Homburg’s post-Castleburg plans are to, “lay low for a little while and see what happens.” While he said he’d like to get back into homebrewing, he was less enthusiastic about returning to his previous career. 

“Homebrewing? Definitely. IT? No, never,” he said, laughing. 

Earlier this month, Isley Brewing Co. also announced it was closing in Scott’s Addition, though the exact future of Isley remains unclear. Other recent local brewery closures include Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Short Pump, Molly’s Blind Dog Brewery in Chester and Canon & Draw Brewing Co. in the Fan

However multiple new breweries have opened this year, and more are in the works. WayGone Brewery, another venture led by former homebrewers, just opened in western Henrico, and Local Pizza and Brewery recently debuted in Chester. Hidden Wit Brewing Co. is set to open soon in Moseley, and Trapezium Brewing Co. is also working on a Church Hill taproom

Following Castleburg’s closure, there will be 45 breweries in the Richmond region. 

castleburg karlHomburg Cropped

Castleburg owner Karl Homburg (BizSense file photos)

Another Richmond brewery is closing its doors. 

Castleburg Brewery and Taproom is preparing to cease operations next month at 1626 Ownby Lane after nearly eight years in business. 

Owner Karl Homburg said rising costs, namely rent, led him to the decision to close. He said he was set to renew Castleburg’s lease at the end of the year when he got a notice that his rent would be going up 80 percent. 

“The costs have gone up considerably on things like freight and the cost of goods,” Homburg said. “The big one that broke my back has been rent.”

Castlesburg is one of the region’s smaller breweries, operating in about 4,200 square feet in a strip center down the road from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s original location. 

Castleburg built its brand on flagship beers like its Bishop’s Brown Ale and eponymous Cream Ale, and though it leaned primarily on taproom sales, it also had a limited distribution network throughout the Richmond and Eastern Virginia regions. 

The brewery’s building is owned by an entity tied to downtown firm Crenshaw-Singleton Properties, which couldn’t be reached for comment. Other tenants in the strip center include a Sherwin-Williams paint shop, gym Colonial Fit RVA, print shop Sir Speedy and Soul Aerial and Performing Arts Center.

castleburg taproom Cropped

Castleburg opened in 2016.

Homburg added that it’s about 30 percent more expensive to brew beer now than it was when Castleburg opened in 2016. All the compiling factors made him feel like now’s the right time to tap out. 

“Inflation has really hit, and it’s getting harder. SBA loans and COVID relief loans are starting to come due. All that stuff is just tightening everybody’s budget,” he said. 

Homburg said he is looking into selling the business, but in the meantime he said the plan is to sell all the beer that’s already been brewed. 

Prior to launching Castleburg, Homburg was an award-winning homebrewer, something he pursued on the side while he earned his living in the IT industry. 

Homburg’s post-Castleburg plans are to, “lay low for a little while and see what happens.” While he said he’d like to get back into homebrewing, he was less enthusiastic about returning to his previous career. 

“Homebrewing? Definitely. IT? No, never,” he said, laughing. 

Earlier this month, Isley Brewing Co. also announced it was closing in Scott’s Addition, though the exact future of Isley remains unclear. Other recent local brewery closures include Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in Short Pump, Molly’s Blind Dog Brewery in Chester and Canon & Draw Brewing Co. in the Fan

However multiple new breweries have opened this year, and more are in the works. WayGone Brewery, another venture led by former homebrewers, just opened in western Henrico, and Local Pizza and Brewery recently debuted in Chester. Hidden Wit Brewing Co. is set to open soon in Moseley, and Trapezium Brewing Co. is also working on a Church Hill taproom

Following Castleburg’s closure, there will be 45 breweries in the Richmond region. 

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Dan Kern
Dan Kern
7 months ago

Truly sorry to see another great, local brewery closing up shop. Thank you, Castleburg.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
7 months ago

As the industry matures and the numbers get higher the closing/opening will become more like restaurants. Gone are the days when you could simply open a brewery and be successful.

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
7 months ago

A possible reason for the increase in Craft Brewery closings might be, as a restaurant client mentioned to me ” Beer is out and cocktails are in.” The smaller breweries will be affected, compounded by the higher costs of doing business.

Mark W Dreyer
Mark W Dreyer
7 months ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

always preferred cocktails – maybe RVA will bet a gin bar some day. i only drink beer to hang with friends

CLARK CHESSER
CLARK CHESSER
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark W Dreyer

I second Virago Distillery, it’s a funky location, but their cocktails are choice.

Alex Czajkowski
Alex Czajkowski
7 months ago

Thats a shame. Sorry to see privately owned businesses go out. And an 80% increase in rent doesn’t help either. How many small businesses could afford that?

Brian Seay
Brian Seay
7 months ago

Sorry to see them go. I don’t know what their original rent was, but I feel like an 80% hike is a little egregious. Good luck to him. Move it over here to Midlothian! I’m sure then business would come.

Joe Pond
Joe Pond
7 months ago

Do they think that they can replace Castleburg with a tenant that will pay that new rent? Or is the play to price out all the tenants then redevelop the parcel?

Stephen Weisensale
Stephen Weisensale
7 months ago
Reply to  Joe Pond

This is exactly what I thought when I read this story.

CLARK CHESSER
CLARK CHESSER
6 months ago

I wonder if the other tenants had their rent increased 80%. If not, the landlord may have been trying to oust the Castleburg for whatever reason. It sounded like there may be an underlying story, that wasn’t revealed to RVABizSense.